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By Christopher Jagge
Posted June 13, 1998
The following is a letter written to anti-national ID activist Jackie Juntti and reprinted with the sender's permission. U.S. airlines, under F.A.A guidelines, now require government-issued photo ID before allowing customers to board airplanes. This letter is the story of one of the many who are now saying, "No," to that little act of tyranny.

Hello Ms. Juntti,

I wrote to you several months ago for more information concerning traveling without showing any Government Issued ID (GID).

Well I have just returned from my trip. To say that it was an experience is an understatment!

My boss and I were traveling from College Station, Texas to Salt Lake City, Utah for a molecular biology conference on American Airlines.

We got the the College Station airport, and I was asked for my GID. I told the agent I couldn't show him my GID and quoted Security Directive 96-05 [SD96-5] (or whatever). To my suprise, he said, "No problem, but I will have to put you on my Security List." I said that would be fine. He didn't check my bags, or put any orange stickers on my thing. In fact, I never even spoke to him again. I thought, "Boy, that was EASY!". Well, as it turned out, our flight was oversold, so we had to wait 2 hours for the next plane. This messed up our connecting flight at DFW, so we had to fly to DFW to catch a flight to Denver before we would get to Salt Lake City. Our ticket in Denver was also switched to United Airlines since American does not fly from Denver to SLC. Well, I thought, "At least I will get to see the incredible waste of my Tax Dollars that is Denver International Airport."

My boss and I finally get to our counter [B19 for those interested in saying Hi to all the GREAT people there ;) ]

Well, I try my thing again. I tell Larry (the ticket guy) that I can't show him my GID, SD96-5, yada, yada, yada. He looks at me over the rim of his glasses (I just HATE that) and very politely asks me to sit down and wait just a few minutes. He places a call, and I hear him say my name a few times. About ten minutes later, I meet Tim. My boss and I also notice that there seem to be several more well dressed men with walkie-talkies than before standing around. I figure Tim has come to check my bags and do the orange sticker thing. Tim proceeds to ask me a few questions (where are we headed,etc...). He asks if I have any ID at all. I say yes, and show him my credit card, Health insurance card, and gas card (no pictures on any of them). He looks them all over, and then gives them back to me and leaves. About two minutes later, he returns with my APPROVED boarding pass with that little 'you have passed security' stamps on it and everything. I think everything is going great at this point.

My boss and I successfully board the plane, stow our carry-ons, and get comfortable for the flight to SLC. Right as we are about to leave, guess who is standing next to us ON THE PLANE, TIM! He says that I will have to get off the plane and come with him. I ask what this is all about. He says, "We will discuss it off the plane." I ask again and he refuses to tell me there. My boss then asks and gets the same response. I tell her to go on the SLC, but she insists on getting off the plane with me. She gets off first and I get her baggage and the get off the plane.

As I am leaving the plane. I make a little anouncement to everyone else on the plane that I am not a terrorist and don't have any drugs or anything. I am being taken off the plane because I have chosen to protest our system.

After we are off the plane. Tim still refused to answer any of our questions except to say "We will discuss it." We are then escorted back to the gate area as the plane leaves without us. Tim starts going on about this little "experiment" that I have "pulled" and that it didn't work. I say, "On the contrary, Tim, my little 'experiment' worked with flying colors. I may not have gotten the result that I expected, but the information that I gathered was very useful." This more important guy named Dale shows up and asks to see my drivers liscence. Well, I know when to quit, so I showed it to him. He says, "Well, it looks like Mr. Jagge was telling the truth." Then to me he says, "None of this would have happened had you shown the ID." To which I respond, "Sir, none of this should have happened anyway."

To make a long story short, we all traded comments on freedom and liberty. Then I was told point blank that United has the right to refuse service to anyone (even though they may already be on the plane, and have passed the gate successfully), and that I was not welcome on United.

Meanwhile, my boss has overheard everything. Did I point out that my boss is from Argentina and lived under a tyrannical regime from 1976-1984? She said the whole experience brought back bad memories for her.

Well, we eventually made it to SLC on Delta. The irony is that the lady at the Delta counter did not even ask to see my GID.

It frightens me, though, that America 1998, home of the free and land of the brave, resembled tyrannical Argentina 1976-1984 more than the country that I thought I lived in.

Christopher Jagge
LP county chair,
Brazos County, Texas

Note from CW: In an exchange of messages with me, when I asked his permission to reprint the above letter, Mr. Jagge added, " boss...lived under a military dictator for 8 years and experienced more drastic but similar situations. She even had to show her government-issued ID just to get into her college classes. I had told her that I was going to challenge the ID rules before we left. She told me that when she becomes a citizen, she might just do the same thing. She got off the plane because she was truely afraid something might happen to me. She remembers when Argentine citizens disappeared for doing what I did."

(c)1998 by Christopher Jagge

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13 June, 1998